I’m trying to reconcile with someone. It is a hard, hard process, but I’ve finally made up my mind to take a leap and just do it.
There is something about the start of summer that feels like a new year to me. People are generally more laid back, and even though we see it as the end of hard work and the beginning of taking it easy I’m kind of going for the opposite. I want to use all of the power hidden in the green trees and warm sun and better attitude of my fellow city dwellers. I want to soak up all of those good vibes and start living more authentically. I actually don’t like what I just typed there about authenticity, but I want to start living a life that is more in conjunction with my fantasy self.
I think we all have fantasy selves, and if you go searching around your house or apartment you will find bits of that person hiding where you live. She is in that size 5 dress that you are saving for when you get that small again and have a Sunday brunch to attend. She is looking up at you in those travel brochures for that special trip one day. Or, you may find her hiding out in your refrigerator. Did you buy all of that healthy food with the thought that you were going to change your lifestyle? Eating simple and beautifully prepared foods?
Well, my fantasy self is no longer hiding. She is walking through my living room naked screaming for attention. We all know that we are responsible for our own lives, our own futures, our own everythings. I know that we all know that, but I think I’ve just realized what that truth means. Are you completely confused yet? I totally am.
Anyway, I want to share with you what the fantasy Ashley is like. I actually think she has several different personalities, but I’ll highlight a few areas.
First, fantasy Ashley lives a very minimalist lifestyle. Her beach side house is mainly decorated in white and only contains useful things. There isn’t a spec of clutter to be seen…or unseen for that matter….because she doesn’t own a single thing that isn’t frequently used or brings sheer joy because of its beauty. (Real Ashley is constantly opening new boxes from Amazon and trying to “organize” to fit all of the things that we “need” into our closets).
Fantasy Ashley’s simple lifestyle doesn’t end there. She only cooks healthy, simple foods. Nothing is prepackaged. She doesn’t eat out often, but when she does it is to share an excellent (I mean really excellent) meal with great friends or new acquaintances. (Real Ashley had Sloppy Joes last night…and was totally feeling terrible about it afterwards).
Fantasy Ashley is surrounded by uplifting and positive people who care about her. There is no gossiping. Fantasy Ashley just. doesn’t. care. about other people’s business (this is actually very true of real Ashley….I just need to find the no gossiping friends).
Fantasy Ashley also does things to take care of herself. She takes naps, does yoga, goes on long walks, and maybe even goes to the gym when there isn’t a better alternative. (Real Ashley ended up in bed with a 104 fever from exhaustion. Yes, I thought about posting that story, but I think that pretty much sums it up).
When it comes to being a mom, fantasy Ashley dutifully escorts her kids to all of the lessons that they enjoy, but they also do so much more. There are impromptu picnics in the park, adventures to new playgrounds, and just generally living life together. (Real Ashley would rather crash on the couch on the weekend and let Dad take Mia out on weekend trips…can you say burnt out?)
Fantasy Ashley is extremely frugal and generous with her family’s money. Her family can go for weeks without having to buy anything new. We also use a portion of our income after we put some away to help others. (Real Ashley missed several, several ways to spread some joy through small donations — note that it coincided with delirious fever levels and episodes of staring at the TV in general laziness and tiredness– and I feel like a portion of Ten’s check should automatically be sent to Amazon each month).
There are other areas of my fantasy life that I haven’t quite figured out yet. I’m pretty sure I work as a yoga teacher, and I may or may not have a pet (but I’m pretty sure I don’t right now)….or I may or may not have more kids…etc. I think you get the point.
Anyway, this Memorial Day I’ve made up my mind. I’m going to say goodbye and hello to fantasy Ashley. I’m letting her out of her box and into the world. I’m going to wake up in the mornings and meditate on this gap. The gap between who I am and who I desperately want to be. I am going to work hard this summer to narrow this gap. I was going to end this little essay with a plea for all of you out there to help me. Help me be the person that I want to be, but I know deep down that it is completely up to me.
This will be the summer where I finally start living the life I was designed to live.